Thursday, April 12, 2018

Machine Quilting Tips

A lot of people find this part of the Quilting process a little daunting - mostly it comes down to practice - the more you practice the better your machine quilting will become.  I am sharing some of the things I think that will help the most and they ways I prefer to do things, to set yourself up to enjoy and be successful at machine quilting.

Here are all my tips and tricks for successful Machine and Free Motion Quilting.


* Make sure to change your machine needle at least every 8 sewing hours or at the start of a new quilt.
* I recommend using Universal size 80 needles.
* If using thicker style threads such as Aurifl 12wt - use a Topstitch needle.


* I love to use a variety of different threads when machine quilting - you can     create lots of interest and detail in your quilt by using different colours, weights and specialty style threads such as Metallic and Variegated threads.
* My favourites are Aurifil threads - in 50wt, 12wt and Brillo (metallic)Always   use a good quality thread so that you don't have trouble with snapping,    shedding or breaking.
* I like to use the same thread usually top and bottom.  If you make them different colours then you need to test your tension on a scrap piece of fabric first so that the thread colours do not blend through to the alternate side.


* My favourite tools to mark up a design on a quilt are Masking Tape, Clover    Herra Marker or this Sewline Air-erasable Fabric Pen.  Make sure that if you   use any pens or fabric markers - you read the instructions carefully for how to remove the pen/marks from you quilt before you iron or wash your quilt.  


* With a Quilt always have your wadding and backing at least 4in larger around all sides of your quilt.  I allow 2in larger for Mini Quilts or Cushions.
* I like to use natural Cotton Batting - there is a large choice of different types of fibre content for Battings - each will yield a different result when quilted.
* I prefer to Pin-baste my quilts - as shown in the picture.  Pin about a "fistful" apart.  Make sure to remove pins from the area you are machine quilting as you go.
* When using white background fabrics I prefer to use a "Bleached White"  Cotton Batting so that the white stays nice and bright.  Natural Batting can leave white fabrics looking "discoloured".


* Free Motion quilting requires attaching the Free Motion Foot to your machine and dropping down the feed dogs (the serrated teethe under the stitch plate).  When you are stitching with these - you are in complete control of your machine and its sewing - this takes practice but the more you do the better you will become. 
* It is important not to create "drag" on your quilt when machine quilting.  Roll  the quilt so that the bulk is on the outside of the machine rather than in the quilting bed (neck).
* Get comfortable - make sure you position yourself so that you are at the right height and can sit well at the chair so that you are not "hunched" over your  machine.
* Start in 1/4 of the quilt and work your way around in a circular motion, unrolling the quilt as you go if you are working on a Free Motion design.  When Machine Quilting lines, sew all the horizontals and then all of the verticals.  Take your quilt out of the machine and re-roll when needed to help reduce the bulk of the quilt in the quilting bed and to make sure you don't have "drag" on your quilt.


* There are lot of different patterns you can make when Machine/Free Motion Quilting
* Machine Quilting - you can make Cross Hatching, Double Cross Hatching or   Curved Cross-Hatching Tram-lines just to name a few I use regularly.
* Free Motion Patterns I love to use are Stippling, Loops, Geometric Patterns,   and designs which incorporate all of these. 
* I recommend going to your local Quilting store and taking lessons on Free   Motion and Machine Quilting.  This will really help to increase your confidence and you can work through with them if you are having any issues with your machine and having someone right there can really help.  It is also a great way of practicing. 


Happy Quilting
Jemima x x 

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

All Stars Pillow Tutorial

I think it safe to say that with each Tula Pink collection - the designs and colours get better and better - well - meet "All Stars".  Hands down my favourite collection to date.  Tula Pink All Stars features some of Tula's favourite prints - not just re-printed but these have been re-coloured and given a new feel to make a whole collection of all your past favourites.  Along with gorgeous focal prints - "Stripes" and "Pom Poms" along with "Tula Pink Solids" round out this amazing range.  

Here is a fun cushion to make to brighten up any spot - a chair, a bed or a reading nook  Take your favourite prints and solids and get making with this fun and bright Tutorial for you to make your own "All Stars Pillow"

All Stars Pillow
20.5in x 20.5in
1/4in seam allowance included

Requirements -   ½yd (45cm) Background fabric (Glacier)
                            Fat ¼ or 20cm each of 4 Prints
                            Fat ¼ or 20cm each of 4 Solids 
                                 (Cornflour, Sweet Pea, Taffy, Agean)        
  6in (15cm) Binding
                            24in x 24in of Batting
                            ½yd (45cm) Backing fabric
                            Machine sewing thread
                            Erasable marking pen
                            Rotary Cutter, ruler and mat
                            General sewing supplies
                            Size 20 Cushion Insert

Cutting Fabric - 
From the Background fabric, cut 16 – 3in x 3in squares and 16 – 3½in x 3½in squares
From each Print cut 4 – 3½in x 3½in squares
From each Solid fabric colour cut 4 - 3½in x 3½in squares
From the Binding fabric cut 2 – 2½in strips for the binding
From the Backing Fabric cut 2 – 16½in x 20½in rectangles

Instructions - 

Step 1 - Cut Fabrics as per cutting instructions.

Step 2 - To make 1 Star Block you will need the following – 4 Background fabric 3in squares, 4 Background fabric 3½in squares, 4 – 3½in fabrics squares from 1 print and 4 – 3½in fabrics from a solid fabric.

Step 3 - To make the centre pinwheel block - draw a diagonal line from corner to corner on the wrong side of 2 of the same 3.5in square prints using your erasable marker. Place a marked square on top of the solid print with right sides together. Pin to hold.

Sew down each side of the marked line using a ¼in seam.  Cut through the diagonal of the square on the marked line and press seam towards the darker fabric.  Repeat for the other pair of squares.

Step 4 - Trim these squares to 3in.  This will make 4 HST (Half Square Triangles) units in total.

Step 5 - To make the outside star points – take the 2 remaining squares from print 1, the 2 remaining squares from the solid print and the 4 – 3½in Background fabric squares.  Draw a diagonal line from corner to corner on each of the fabric prints.  Pair each up with a Background fabric square and pin to hold. Sew down each side of the marked line using a ¼in seam. 

Step 6 - Cut through the diagonal of the square on the marked line and press seam towards the darker fabric.  Repeat for the other 3 squares.  This will make 8 – HST units in total.

Step 7 - Layout the following fabrics to make the rows

Row 1 – Background fabric 3in square, Solid/ Background fabric HST, Background fabric /Print HST, Background fabric 3in square.

Row 2 – Background fabric /Print HST, Print/Solid HST, Print/Solid HST, Solid/ Background fabric HST

Row 3 - Background fabric /Solid HST, Solid/Print HST, Solid/Print HST, Print/ Background fabric HST

Row 4 - Background fabric 3in square, Print/ Background fabric HST, Background fabric/Solid HST, Background fabric 3in square.

Arrange the star so that the same colour print matches up at the points.

Step 8 - Sew each of the 4 squares in each row together pressing alternate rows in the opposite direction.  This will mean that when you sew up each row the seams will “nest” and lay nice and flat.  Press rows downwards.  Your block will measure 10.5in (unfinished)

Step 9 - Repeat steps 2-8 to make a total of 4 star blocks. Sew up the squares of your pillow by sewing each of the 2 Blocks together the make a row.  Press the seams in the same direction.  Sew each of the rows together pressing alternate rows in the same direction. 

Step 10 - Baste and Quilt your Pillow top – centre the pillow top over the batting, pin to baste then Machine quilt your pillow top.  Trim Batting to size.

I used Aurifil Brillo #800 to quilt my pillow top.

Step 10 - To make the Envelope Back – take the backing rectangles, fold down the backing fabric ½in down from the 20½in end.  Press in place.  Now turn over and pin this folded edge down 1in, pin and press in place.   Machine stitch down both the folded edges to hold in place.  Repeat this for the second backing piece. Take your completed cushion top and the completed back envelope panels.  Place the Front of your cushion down onto the bench (so you can see the wadding), place your first back panel on top of the wadding facing you, matching the raw edges of the side of your cushion front and the raw short edge of your backing.  Then lay your second backing piece down along the opposite raw edge also so that the right side is facing you.  Pin around the outside edges and sew these three layers together by sewing just in from the raw edges to hold in place to make it easier to sew on your binding.  

Step 11 - Take the binding strips and join them end to end.  Press the seam open.  Then press the entire strip in half lengthways with wrong sides facing.  Start about half of the way along one side of the pillow, sew the binding strip to the right side of the pillow, mitring the corners as you go.  Stop about 6in from where you started.  Join the ends and cut off excess.  Continue sewing the binding to the pillow top.  Fold over the binding and slip stitch into place along the back-seam line.

I'd love to see your All Stars Pillow - tag me over on Instagram (@tiedwitharibbon) and share using #allstarspillow, #tiedwitharibbonpatterns, 

Happy sewing!
Jemima x 
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